Emma, My Daughter in Zion: A Preliminary Study of D&C 25, Part 1

This and the post following it (part 2) are pieces I wrote a few years ago as a guest blogger at another Mormon-themed blog. I've reworked them a bit, but I've largely left them as I originally wrote them. I think they're worth a revisit now for a host of (largely obvious) reasons I won't go into. I'll say that my having written them in the first place and my posting them now shouldn't be construed as either supportive or critical of any positions being taken on relevant issues. My aim in these … [Read more...]

No More Strangers

One of my most familiar childhood religious memories is waking up at the end of the General Conference broadcast, sprawled full-length on the floor with the marks of the carpet in my cheek. “This has been the [ordinal number] conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” the familiar voice intoned over the postlude. As the camera panned around the trees at Temple Square, I would pan around the living room to get the lay of the land. My father was asleep. My mother was asleep. My … [Read more...]

Ordaining Women Is Not Going Away for LDS

The issue of women’s ordination in the LDS church is at least in its fourth decade.   In the 1970’s, and especially in the 1980’s after the expansion of the priesthood to all worthy males in 1978, LDS women and men have published and organized in favor in women’s ordination.  Such movements have been common in other American churches, which vigorously debated the issues during the 20th century. Movements for women’s ordination exist in nearly every denomination which has not already made the tran … [Read more...]

Doctrinal Disparity & Fragile Faith

Just over a week ago, the New York Times ran a well-considered and well-written (not to mention, front-page above-the-fold) in-depth examination of the expanding role of women in the LDS Church. The portrait it paints is even-handed, nuanced, and insightful, even if a bit discomforting for the increasing number of women and men who share the sentiment expressed by Joanna Brooks that the “great unfinished business of the church is gender equality.” Although the modifications may seem minute, and t … [Read more...]

On religious freedom and discrimination

With the recent proposed amendment to Arizona’s religious freedom law, Facebook has fed me a lot of outraged comments about religion and discrimination. Some rejected that discrimination was the sort of thing anyone could do for religious reasons: real religion teaches people to be kind to each other. Others allowed that people might have genuine religious reasons to want to discriminate, but denied that society had any reason to let them: “you can’t force your religion on other people” was the p … [Read more...]

The Decline of Something Called “Religion”

Stories of Decline Perry Miller’s exhaustive intellectual histories of Puritan theology were published back in the 1930s and 1940s, and did a lot to revitalize and rehabilitate the Puritans (what? You didn’t know that Puritans have been rehabilitated?).  One of Miller’s primary narrative structures – one he shared, interestingly enough, with his subjects - was the declension narrative: that is, early Puritanism of the 1620s and 1630s shared, as Miller put it, “almost unbroken allegia … [Read more...]

Mormons and Basketball in the Philippines

Filipino

“There are good Mormons, rogue Mormons, drunk Mormons, polygamy Mormons. But one thing they all have in common is basketball.” -Rick Majerus, former University of Utah head basketball coachMormons have a unique love affair with basketball, as Matt Bowman has deftly analyzed elsewhere. From the pickup games and (slightly) more organized local leagues sponsored by Mormon stakes and wards to 2011’s Jimmermania, and from LDS Prophet Thomas Monson’s casual backslap of former Utah Jazz head co … [Read more...]

Missionary Work in the Pre-Correlation Age, My Grandfather’s “Mormon Doctrine,” and Mormonism’s (Un)Systematic Theology

My grandfather's 3-volume "Mormon Doctrine."

My grandfather took a train to Toronto, Canada, to start his LDS mission in 1948. After a very brief stay at the mission home, he was off with his new companion to find converts. The Church was very small at the time in the area. Big cities like Toronto and Oshawa had branches, but most small towns lacked a single member and the missionaries were left to travel long distances, usually once every few weeks, to neighboring villages in order to gather with missionaries and have a makeshift … [Read more...]


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